Award-winning artist Bryony Kimmings’ first solo show in nearly a decade and the return of internationally-acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko will feature in Battersea Arts Centre’s Phoenix Season, celebrating the reopening of the Grand Hall, three years after the venue was devastated by fire.
The run of Gecko’s Missing was interrupted by the fire in March 2015 and is the first theatre show of the Phoenix Season, as the company returns to Battersea to complete its run in the reborn Grand Hall, opening on 6 September 2018 (running until 15 September).
The Phoenix Theatre season will incorporate more than 100 performances, three new commissions, three world premieres, two London premieres and two BAC co-productions.
Highlights of the season include:
Bryony Kimmings presents the world premiere of I’m a Phoenix, Bitch (3 to 20 October), her first solo show in nearly a decade. Seeing parallels between her own life, the destruction of Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall and world events, Kimmings presents an exploration of strength, regeneration and renewal after disaster.
Daniel Kitson takes over the Grand Hall for the entirety of January 2019 with a month-long residency. More details will be revealed later this year.
Mythology and pop culture collide in new commission Superblackman (15 November to 1 December), a multi-art form mash-up that explores power, mental health and representation. Superblackman is created by Lekan Lawal, an artistic director at Battersea Arts Centre as part of Up Next, a partnership between Battersea Arts Centre, Bush Theatre and Artistic Directors of the Future.
The National Theatre of Scotland presents the London premiere of Adam (18 to 29 September), the remarkable, true story of a young Egyptian trans man and his journey to reconciliation. Featuring a score sung by a virtual choir of trans and non-binary individuals from across the world projected onto the stage, Adam is described as both a bold exploration of the experience of a young transgender person and an ambitious experiment with theatrical form.
Little Bulb Theatre performs Orpheus (5 to 30 December), the company’s most ambitious show to date, which was developed over two years at Battersea Arts Centre before touring internationally to critical acclaim. Little Bulb Theatre’s musical re-imagining of the Greek myth plunges audiences into the seductive world of the 1930s Paris jazz scene, as legendary guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt and songstress Yvette Pépin set out to restage the ancient epic.
Dead Centre presents a deconstructed and absurd take on Chekhov’s First Play (31 October to 10 November) in a London premiere.
A brand new immersive adventure for the whole family, BAC production Return to Elm House (Sat 1 Dec – Sun 30 Dec) draws on Battersea Arts Centre’s rich history. Audiences young and old will embark on a quest throughout the building to seek out hidden memories, uncover lost secrets and collect clues to piece together the tale of Elm House – the building that once stood on the site of Battersea Arts Centre.
Beatbox Academy celebrates its 10th birthday with a special gig-theatre performance of Frankenstein (Wed 24 Oct). Inspired by Mary Shelley’s original tale of power and persecution, Frankenstein explores the idea of what makes a modern monster. The Academy will be joined by an eclectic mixed bill of special guests performing their own sets and sessions to get the party started.
In other news:
Battersea Arts Centre is launching a new Phoenix Award, to help address the lack of opportunities for artists working at a small scale to create work in bigger spaces. The winning artist will not have presented work on a mid-scale before and will receive a £4,000 commission, at least three weeks residency time, tickets to see every shows in the Phoenix season and the opportunity to present their work in the Grand Hall. The Phoenix Award will run for at least the next three years and be awarded to an artist with a working relationship with Battersea Arts Centre.
Throughout the Phoenix Season, Battersea Arts Centre is working towards becoming a Relaxed Venue – a new initiative that builds on the principles of Relaxed Performances, which are designed to extend a warm welcome to people who might find it hard to follow the conventions of theatre etiquette.
David Jubb, artistic director and CEO said:
“We are so grateful to everyone who has offered their time, advice and support over the last three years. Without it, we could not have kept going. In the midst of uncertain and often challenging times for many communities in London and beyond, we hope the Phoenix Season will be a reason for tens of thousands of people to come together, rise up and make a difference.”